Every year around this time The Body Shop releases their seasonal line of cranberry inspired body products. I say “inspired” because they don’t seem to have much in common with the little red berry other than the colour. I used to love the lip gloss, but once I started making all my own lip glosses and balms, I realized its overly sweet and sticky, with a rather sickly artificial fragrance. So, this year I thought I’d make my own cranberry lip balm.
The colour comes from a liquid carmine dye from Saffire Blue, but you could also use red iron oxide if you don’t have the carmine liquid dye (though the colour won’t be as bright—it’ll be a muddier red/brown). Then there’s a bit of gold or copper mica for some Christmassy shimmer. Nice.
As for scent. Cranberries aren’t overly fragrant, and berries don’t produce essential oils, so obviously that’s not an option. So, I started thinking about what scents remind me of cranberries, and I landed on cranberry sauce pretty quickly. Orange, cinnamon, and cloves—though, sadly, orange was out thanks to photo sensitization, and cinnamon as it can be rather irritating. So I went with peppermint with a hint of cloves, bergamot (the bergaptene free version), and cardamom. It’s mostly peppermint, but with a bit of spicy, mellow depth. I love it!
Cranberry Lip Balm
20 drops liquid carmine dye (or red iron oxide)
1 smidgen | 1/32 tsp gold, copper, or bronze mica (I use these wee measuring spoons for such tiny amounts)
Stir in the carmine, mica, and essential oils using a flexible silicone spatula, stirring as the mixture cools a bit. Once the mixture has thickened enough to keep the mica suspended, decant into ten lip balm tubes and let cool. I like to use these labels to label my projects.
Don’t have the carrier oils called for in the recipe? Read this for a guide on how to choose appropriate alternatives.